Over the last century, Xcel Energy and its predecessors have met our customers’ growing energy needs while assuring reliable, clean energy at a competitive price. It is a legacy we are proud to continue, especially at such a challenging and exciting time.
Never before has our industry experienced the type of complexity it confronts today. Much of the infrastructure that has served customers well for decades needs replacing. We face growing pressure to conduct our business in a way that reduces emissions and preserves natural resources. There are new requirements to protect our operations from possible cyber attack, ensure customer data privacy and safeguard our nuclear assets. As our workforce ages, we must prepare a new generation of Xcel Energy employees and leaders. And we must continue to support our communities; after all, our success depends on them.
Despite these challenges, this is also a moment of great possibility. Our industry has begun to take advantage of dramatic changes in the natural gas markets and the progress of advanced clean energy technologies that will shape our future. Even as the industry changes, electricity consumers benefit from greater choice, improved efficiency and greater reliability.
I am proud that Xcel Energy has taken a leading, proactive approach in addressing these challenges and in taking advantage of these opportunities. We do so with a balanced, straightforward mission to meet customer energy demands in the least expensive, most reliable, safest and cleanest way possible.
Our focus is on our customers. We know they depend on us around the clock. We provide reliable energy for customers when and where they need it, combined with service that is fast and attentive to their needs. To help customers manage costs, we manage our own business carefully and efficiently while offering our customers innovative programs to enable them to use energy more efficiently.
As an electric and natural gas utility, we are deeply integrated in the communities we serve. We know that managing long-term economic, environmental and social impacts is essential to the viability of our business and directly contributes to the quality of life of our friends and neighbors. We continually encourage our 12,000 employees to make a positive impact where they live, work and serve.
In this report, we describe how we engage customers, communities, regulators and other stakeholders important to our operations. We work hard to establish the kind of relationships that enable us to better understand stakeholder interests and enable stakeholders to better understand the products and services we provide.
The better we understand our customers, the better we can work with them to keep their energy bills manageable and their businesses strong. The more customers understand the services we bring to them, the more likely they are to support the kind of constructive regulatory environment that will enable us to prosper. We believe that when Xcel Energy is strong, our energy service is better and everyone benefits. Our stakeholder efforts create value for everyone.
Our environmental leadership is a good example of this value. We are among the nation’s leaders in delivering safe, clean energy using environmentally responsible practices and renewable resources. In fact, this is the ninth year in a row that Xcel Energy has been named the nation’s No. 1 wind provider. Through a balanced strategy of power plant improvements, customer energy efficiency programs and wind and solar energy projects, we are on track to surpass our carbon dioxide reduction goal of 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.
These investments result in cleaner air and a better environment, but they also modernize and increase the reliability of our entire system. They enable us to rebuild aging infrastructure and provide our customers with energy using a modern, more efficient system that contributes to the economic vitality of our service territory.
Our environmental strategy works because it is not dependent on any single fuel or technology. Because we’ve been balanced and proactive in our approach, we’ve been able to proceed at our own pace, complete projects in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible and deliver them at a good price for customers. As a matter of fact, at the same time we have made remarkable environmental progress, we have maintained energy rates that are below the national average. These efforts also have positioned us well to meet the challenge of new, more aggressive environmental rules in the coming decade.
In this report, you will find that we are proactive and collaborative as we tackle other priorities too. 2012 was an outstanding year. We met our financial goals, achieved ambitious operational targets, reached a new high for customer satisfaction, achieved significant safety improvements, built on our unparalleled record of environmental leadership, and worked hard for our communities. In every category, we delivered results.
We will build on those successes going forward. It’s gratifying to know that what we do affects the quality of people’s lives and the strength of the communities we serve. Xcel Energy will continue to be there when it matters most … and every day in between.
Chairman, President & CEO
We published our first corporate responsibility report (formerly known as the Triple Bottom Line report) in April 2005, with the contents covering the 2004 calendar year, and we have published a similar report in each following year. Our report is based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the most widely used sustainability reporting framework in the world. Additionally, we incorporate the GRI’s Electric Utilities Sector Supplement indicators wherever possible.